Politics A Note on this Year’s Primary
posted by August 23 at 10:53 AMon
Who knew? Seattle voters are smart! (At least the 24% of you who took the time to mark your ballots and vote.)
Check it out: In the Port race, rather than mindlessly reacting to all the scandals with a knee-jerk “Throw the Bums Out” backlash, voters went with the reformist challenger in one race by giving Gael Tarleton 32% and incumbent Bob Edwards 28% (an amazing feat for an unknown against an incumbent), but they stuck with the incumbent in the other race, giving Alec Fisken 44% to main challenger Bill Bryant’s 29%.
Incumbent Edwards, of course, was implicated in the recent Mic Dinsmore retirement package scandal and is associated with the status quo, getting bank from corporate Port customers. And so, it makes sense for voters to lean toward Tarleton.
The other incumbent, Fisken, is a noisy in-house refromer, while his opponent is a Republican with big business backing. And so, it made sense that voters stuck with Fisken—who was not implicated in the recent scandal.
I had been worried that Fisken would simply eat it in the uproar over the Port scandals, but it appears as if voters were able to parse the issues. We’ll see if that holds in the general between Fisken and Bryant. Given Bryant’s constituency he raised a lot more money for the primary (Fisken has a lot more donors, but a lot less cash)—and so Bryant may be able to make something out of the anti-incumbent mood just yet.
This trend didn’t play out, however, in the school board races, where a perfectly fit incumbent, Darlene Flynn (who’s actually good on the issues that plague the district like budgeting), had a tough time making it through the primary; meanwhile her main challenger, Sherry Carr, came out far ahead: 40 to 27.
Why weren’t voters as nuanced here? Probably because Carr is one of this year’s more impressive candidates in any of the races for any position. We stuck with Flynn in our endorsements because Carr, while impressive in her own right, didn’t make the case against Flynn—who we think is the best board member. We also want some continuity. (Find our school board endorsements, among others, here.)
I kinda wish Carr was running for something else like city council, where the candidates this year don’t match the intensity and urgency of the big issues currently confronting our city.